Trouble-shooter finds work rewarding
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Roy Stuart has attended every live satellite broadcast of the Church for the past eight years. But in all that time, he has yet to watch the first half hour of these programs.
Brother Stuart is too busy answering phones to watch the first part of the broadcasts. He's a trouble-shooter at headquarters, a satellite communications network specialist who helps others solve their technical problems.Usually, he said, problems are solved in the first half hour and he is able to watch the rest of the broadcasts.
He answers phone calls from Church members in Mexico, Canada and across the United States and helps them correctly set up their satellite receiving devices. When problems occur, members can call him to bring their blank screen to life.
A Sunday School teacher in the North Canyon 5th Ward, Bountiful Utah North Canyon Stake, he said his ability to help improved after he received a bachelor's degree from Weber State University. Brother Stuart recently became the fifth student to complete the state's only telecommunications program, and is the first student to graduate from the program this year.
He said his education has helped him find new ways of conveying electronics information in layman terms.
"Most people's technical knowledge stops at the light switch," he said. "Yet local operators [of satellite receiving stationsT have to be my hands and eyes as I determine over the phone the cause of transmission failures."
Since 1985, Brother Stuart has been at the trouble-shooting nerve center of one of the world's largest satellite systems.
In 1985, the Church's network included about 2,500 earth stations. That number has since grown to about 4,500. Even with the increase, the number of phone calls has remained about the same because local operators are now mostly well-experienced. To support them, Brother Stuart and a staff of up to 10 people answer the incoming calls.
"We have a team effort," said Brother Stuart. He said a common problem is that "sometimes the program comes in Spanish, and we have to change their receiver to a different subcarrier."
Mostly, though, calls from meetinghouses come when receivers aren't working at all. Usually, after a few suggestions, team members can direct the local operators to bring the program in correctly.
Occasionally, non-members with private satellite dishes call the number to learn more about Church programming.
Once he received a call from a non-member who had seen a Church program through a private satellite dish. "Is this the number you call if you have trouble?" she asked.
The satellite communications specialist assured her it was the number.
`My husband and I don't get along," she said. "Would you pray for us?"
Brother Stuart was happy to comply.